Gamesys Cuts All UK TV and Radio Ads

Gamesys Group has announced that it will cease all TV and radio advertising in the UK, while the lockdown is still in place. The software developer has taken the decision to protect those who may be at risk of gambling harms during the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures follow a positive start to the year for the company, which has reported a 19% increase in revenues in the first quarter.

Colorful bingo balls bouncing in a spinner.

Gamesys runs a number of well-known brands, including Virgin Games, Heart Bingo and Jackpotjoy. ©Dylan Nolte/Unsplash

Strengthening Player Protections

In its first quarterly trading update for 2020, Gamesys revealed that it has strengthened its responsible gambling measures by boosting resources to cope with increased customer activity. Measures include heightened monitoring of users’ playing time as well as overall player spend across all of its sites.

Thanks to continued customer reminders about responsible gambling controls as well as improved monitoring of players behavior, Gamesys has seen a 45% rise in the number of players setting up deposit limits since the beginning of the lockdown. This figure comes from four weeks of data starting from March 23rd, compared with the previous four weeks.

Gamesys has also noted increased activity in player chat rooms across its bingo sites. This rose by 38% in the same four-week period, alongside a 10% increase in non-wagering sessions across UK sites. Where possible, Gamesys has been running a promotion of 10 hours of free bingo a day across its brands.

The most striking of Gamesys’s new player protection measures is its decision to withdraw all untargeted advertising on TV and radio until the UK coronavirus lockdown is lifted. This comes in response to concerns that children and those who are vulnerable to gambling harms may be at risk due to increased media consumption.

Gamesys will continue to advertise its brands online, although it has confirmed that it will also be suspending direct-mail marketing and untargeted digital advertising. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that customer protections are at the heart of this company’s strategy.

“During these unprecedented times our main priority is the health and well-being of employees and players and I am incredibly proud of the steps we have taken as a Group to ensure that we are best- placed to do this. Our business purpose of “crafting entertainment with care” has never been more relevant and we remain committed to providing a fun, safe and entertaining environment for our global customer base to enjoy.”Lee Fenton, Chief Executive Officer, Gamesys Group plc

Last week the UK government urged gambling operators in the UK to act responsibly, in order to protect players during the virus outbreak. The ASA has also echoed concerns for player safety, emphasizing the rigorous standards it has put into place for operators to adhere to.

A Strong First Quarter

On top of these measures, Gamesys has also decided to withdraw all of its Jackpotjoy branding from ITV’s ‘Loose Women’, which it sponsors. This has provided a space for domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid to sponsor the popular British talk show.

To help the charity upkeep its live chat facility during heightened demand, Gamesys has also made a donation of £200,000 to Women’s Aid. The charity has extended its live chat hours to help those in need during the lockdown.

“I am also delighted to be able to announce our support for Women’s Aid to help it provide such a vital service during these extraordinary times. Like all businesses across the UK and those within our sector, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation carefully and operate based on official Government guidelines until we are ready to return to a normal course of business.”

The new measures were announced in Gamesys’s Q1 2020 Trading Update, which detailed trading for the three-month trading period ending on March 31st. Overall the company reported a strong performance, building on the previous successful quarter. Compared to the first quarter of 2019, this quarter saw revenues increase by 19% to £155.3 million.

Growth in Asia and the UK are mainly responsible for this growth. In Europe, Spain and Germany both did well, although “continued weakness” in Sweden held region figures back. In the US further progress was made, building on positive performance in 2019. Gamesys has reported that Q2 is off to a good start, but it will have to wait to be seen what real financial impact COVID-19 has.

“The Group is in a strong position given our operational control of a portfolio of well-renowned brands and complete ownership of our technology platforms. We are confident that the business is capable of meeting the challenges in the current environment and continuing to thrive in the long term.”

Gamesys is responsible for a number of household brands, including Virgin Games, Heart Bingo and Jackpotjoy. Many of its brands in the UK and around the world focus on bingo, although many also offer a whole host of popular online casino games.

After the company launched in 2001, it grew rapidly, being named the UK’s top fastest-growing private technology company by the Sunday Times in 2006. Now Gamesys is one of the few gaming firms to be listed on the London Stock Exchange as well as the FTSE 250 Index.

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